A woman reclines, her body twisted away from us, face turned towards the lens. To those with a background knowledge of European art history, her pose is immediately recognisable as a reference to La Grande Odalisque, an 1814 oil painting by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres which sits in the collection of the Louvre, Paris. Made in 2008, the photograph is from a series titled Les Femmes du Maroc by artist Lalla Essaydi (b. 1956) and is currently on show alongside three other major bodies of work – Converging Territories (2002-2004), Harem (2009) and Bullets (2009-2014) – at Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York. “I want the viewer to become aware of Orientalism as a projection of the sexual fantasies of Western male artists – in other words as a voyeuristic tradition,” the artist explains.
A Multi-Layered Perspective
Review of A New Gaze in Aesthetica Magazine
28 April 2022